Breastfeeding Latch Tricks
Lactation consultants share their favorite latch tricks for breastfeeding success…
A good latch is the foundation to successful breastfeeding.
Some top lactation consultants share some insider tricks on how they encourage breastfeeding mothers and babies to get a great latch.
Here's what they said...
“I encourage lots of skin on skin contact, relaxing with your baby in a place where you feel comfortable.”
-Katrina Tucker, IBCLC at The Babybrain
"I encourage lots of skin on skin contact, relaxing with your baby in a place where you feel comfortable. A lovely warm space allows you both to promote the optimal place for a good breastfeed. Feed in any position you prefer, watching for cues that baby is ready for a feed and allowing them to initiate a wide open gape. By encouraging feeding in this way, mothers are a able to empower themselves to achieve a good latch independently and know when things aren't feeling right."
“I encourage you to watch for early cues of newborn hunger, such as licking their lips or rooting.”
-Naya Weber, IBCLC at It's More Than Milk Lactation Services
"I encourage you to watch for early cues of newborn hunger, such as licking their lips or rooting. Initiating latch before baby gets frustrated can help with baby opening wide and being more patient as you and baby get comfortable with each other. Since crying is a late stage hunger cue, it's quite possible that baby has gotten so hangry that they just shut down when you finally get them latched. Another great way to ensure a good latch is to make sure baby is properly supported. Rather than pressing on the back of baby's head (which can close them off), pressing between their shoulder blades with the fleshy part of the palm of your hand helps them open more towards mom. This helps them take in a good amount of breast tissue for an effective latch. Try it - press on the back of your head, then press between your shoulder blades."
“Get your body comfortable first.”
-Danielle Downs Spradlin, IBCLC at Oasis Lactation Services
"Get your body comfortable first. You won’t sustain a great latch with a tired neck or shoulders. Move the baby into a position that is secure and can be supported with one arm. You'll need a free hand to have a snack with the baby. The last thing to adjust is the breast."
"I love the laid back or biological nursing position.”
-Julie Matheney, MS, CCC-SLP, IBCLC at The LA Lactation Lady
"I love the laid back or biological nursing position. When baby is laid tummy to tummy and is comfortable, the baby can typically latch all on its own without much intervention. Moms are always surprised at how baby can find the nipple and latch deeper on their own than with a lot of handling."
“I encourage mothers to watch videos of other moms doing laid back nursing.”
-Barbara Ryan, IBCLC at Barbara Ryan IBCLC
"Laid-back nursing is a great way in the beginning to get a nice deep latch. I encourage mothers to watch videos of other moms doing laid back nursing. It helps to build confidence with a position that is not always so familiar."
“Imagine velcro attaching their belly to your belly.”
-Beverley Rae, MSW, IBCLC at Breastfeeding Resources
"First, sit comfortably, with your back and elbows well supported. Hold baby on a pillow, very close to you (imagine velcro attaching their belly to your belly). Touch baby’s top lip with your nipple. When they open wide, point the nipple to the roof of their mouth and latch them so their chin touches the breast first. This helps them to take a good mouthful of breast, not just the nipple, and is key to avoiding nipple pain."
“Make sure your baby is correctly lined up with nose to nipple.”
-Leilani Songer, IBCLC at Breastfeeding Fixers
"Make sure your baby is correctly lined up with nose to nipple and you start the bottom lip of the baby at the bottom of the areola and ask for a wide mouth as you lift them up and over the top of the nipple to get a deep latch. Many moms do not wait for a wide open mouth because they feel rushed to get baby on as soon as they see the baby opening their mouth and they often push them on quickly without fully understanding what they’re able to achieve with a deeper latch."
“Try and sandwich the breast and get more of the bottom of the breast in the mouth than the top.”
-Briana Violand, IBCLC at Northcoast Lactation & Sleep Services LLC
"I encourage mothers to get comfortable and bring baby to the breast in a more laid back biological-type position. Also, to get a wide gape and asymmetrical latch try and sandwich the breast and get more of the bottom of the breast in the mouth than the top. Always seek the help of an IBCLC if breastfeeding is painful and it’s not getting any better for you."
“Match the shape of the sandwich to the opening of your baby's mouth.”
-Ileana Berrios, IBCLC at Breastfeeding Latinas
"Compress the breast as if it was a BIG sandwich for which you want to mold down to the size of your baby’s mouth to get a better fit. Match the shape of the sandwich to the opening of your baby's mouth. This keeps you focused on how you’re compressing your breast since at times women tend to squeeze the breast in a way that hinders baby's ability to latch on."
“Drag the nipple down their mouth to elicit their natural gape reflex.”
-Mary Unangst, IBCLC at Sweet Songs Breastfeeding
"We encourage mothers to take a prenatal breastfeeding class or meet 1-1 with an IBCLC while still pregnant to get some basics beforehand. In our experience, this is very helpful. We also tell mothers to ask for help in the hospital-make use of your hospital lactation staff. Lastly, we encourage moms to relax, and use baby's instinct - give baby some room to open wide by keeping your hand off the back of their head and drag the nipple down their mouth to elicit their natural gape reflex. Remember it's breastfeeding, not nipple feeding-they need lots of tissue for a comfortable latch!”
“Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you.”
- Chelsea DeSorbo, IBCLC at Bliss Lactation
"Snuggle your baby close, lean back, relax, and latch. If mom is comfortable and baby is getting milk it’s a winner! Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you."